Canada issues deportation order for senior Iranian official

The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) ruled Majid Iranmanesh, 54, inadmissible to Canada, owing to his status as a senior Iranian official. He attended the University of Victoria as a visiting professor on a visa eight months ago.

Canada issues deportation order for senior Iranian official
LinkedIn / Majid Iranmanesh and The Canadian Press / Darren Calabrese
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Canada will deport its first Iranian agent in short order after the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) ruled Majid Iranmanesh, 54, inadmissible to Canada.

The former director general of Iran’s Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology entered the country eight months ago using a visa issued in Turkey. He attended the University of Victoria as a visiting professor.

However, immigration officials flagged Iranmanesh as a senior regime member soon after his arrival. He became the second person in recent months to be suspected of ties to Tehran, with the IRB receiving his case file last November 29.

During his admissibility hearing on January 11, Iranmanesh denied any affiliation with the Iranian regime, contravening claims by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The federal agency advocated for his deportation as he "continues to be a high valued senior official." 

On February 2, IRB emmber Mary Heyes ruled against Iranmanesh, who desired a prompt return to Iran, reported Global News.

In November 2022, then-public safety minister Marco Mendicino designated Iran a "regime that has engaged in terrorism and systematic and gross human rights violations" under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).

That announcement made tens of thousands of Iranian officials and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps members inadmissible to Canada, with the CBSA denying entry to dozens of officials and their affiliates.

The IRGC, the paramilitary organization backing Iran’s Supreme Leader, shot down Ukraine Airlines Flight 752 over Tehran on January 8, 2020, with two surface-to-air missiles. The strike killed all 176 people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents upon impact.

"When individuals have been involved in activity that would make them ineligible to be in this country, we’ll do everything we can to keep them out. And when they do get into this country, we’ll do everything we can to remove them," Defence Minister Bill Blair told reporters last fall.

"People who have no place in Canada will be removed," he said. "We need the cooperation of the community. We need information in order to deal effectively with these individuals."

Courtesy of tips from the public and referrals from Immigration Canada, CBSA is investigating 86 persons of interest with status in Canada. 

Roughly 700 people in Canada have suspected ties to the Iranian regime, with some allegedly threatening Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's critics while in the country. 

"To date, 10 individuals have been reported inadmissible by the CBSA for being a senior official in the Iranian regime," CBSA confirmed. As of writing, nine officials are set to appear before the IRB to assess their admissibility into Canada. 

Iran’s former deputy minister of the interior, Seyed Salman Samani, 42, is the first official to face the threat of deportation. 

Outside of Samani and Majid, the identities of the other officials remain disclosed under the Privacy Act, reported Global News.

Of the other eight cases, one person left Canada, with another official facing an impending hearing. 

Paperwork on the remaining cases is still being prepared before it is sent to the IRB, confirmed Immigration spokesperson Anna Pape. 

On November 14, a reporter asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if he would designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, amid renewed calls to do so.

"We continue to watch and make sure we’re able to do everything we can that is responsible against the impact of the IRGC," he said.

As of November 20, CBSA had denied 78 individuals entry into Canada, following a review of roughly 17,800 visa applications for potential inadmissibility.

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